Emily Taylor, despite being reunited with her husband from prison, becomes severely depressed with emotional episodes and suicide attempts. Her psychiatrist, Jonathan Banks, after conferring with her previous doctor, eventually prescribes an experimental new medication called Ablixa. The plot thickens when the side effects of the drug lead to Emily killing her husband in a "sleepwalking" state. With Emily plea-bargained into mental hospital confinement and Dr. Banks' practice crumbling around him, the case seems closed. However, Dr. Banks cannot accept full responsibility and investigates to clear his name. What follows is a dark quest that threatens to tear what's left of his life apart even as he discovers the diabolical truth of this tragedy. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
It isn't what you think--superbly acted and directed
Side Effects (2013)
Tightly scripted, superbly cast and acted, well-crafted movie all around. This is in a conventional story-telling style but the details are so finely tuned it's a pleasure, and a suspense, all through.
I'm not sure who gets more credit, Jude Law in his role as Dr. Banks, a truly well-meaning psychiatrist or Rooney Mara as Emily, the patient (in various stages, and not always so well-meaning). Both are brilliant and believable. You half expect them to click romantically, but that you'll have to see about.
The plot, at first, has to do with Emily dealing with her husband getting out of jail (he was in for insider trading). Then with her depression coping with it all. Then with the pills she's taking for same. Then with the apparent side effects of the medication, which loom as a whole new horror story.
And that's just the beginning. There are surprises (one of them hinted at in the opening scene) and then further and further twists. The plot threatens to get overly sensational but somehow keeps itself in check. So the movie becomes increasingly a thriller with its feet on the ground. Always interesting.
Director Steven Soderbergh is a true artist movie maker. And you can feel things finely tuned and in control here. He has never been the kind of auteur as the famous greats like Coppola or Kubrick or more recently even Nolan (whatever the excesses of the latter). But within the conventions of conventional movies, he usually makes really watchable, polished, and visually beautiful movies. That's very true here.
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